The Role of Intravenous Immunoglobulin Preparations in the Treatment of Systemic Sclerosis PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 June 2012 03:43
Marta Baleva and Krasimir Nikolov
Received 12 June 2011; Revised 28 August 2011; Accepted 28 August 2011

Scleroderma is progressive autoimmune disease associated with severe disability. The major underlying pathological process in Scleroderma is progressive development of fibrous tissue and obliteration of the microvasculature. Currently, there are no medical products for the treatment of Scleroderma that provide both sufficient immunosuppression and low-risk side safety profile with negligible side effects.

There are a large number of experimental data showing that intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has multiple clinical and morphological effects. On the other hand, some authors report good effect of intravenous immune globulins in patients with Scleroderma. The less frequent side effects of IVIG in doses below or equal to 2 g/kg/month divided in 5 consecutive days make IVIG a promising treatment of choice in Scleroderma.
 
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease May Represent Subset of Systemic Scleroderma PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 June 2012 03:16
Many patients with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) may represent a subset of Systemic Scleroderma, rather than a disease involving overlapping connective tissue disorders as is commonly believed, or a subset of Lupus as some have suggested over the years, Dr. Virginia Steen said at the Congress of Clinical Rheumatology.

Several factors associated with clinical presentation support this argument, said Dr. Steen, professor of medicine at Georgetown University in Washington.
 
Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Increases Survival in Systemic Sclerosis Patients PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 June 2012 21:48
Initial results from an international, investigator-initiated, open label phase III trial were presented at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism. Data indicate that haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) results in better long term survival than conventional treatment for patients with poor prognosis early diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis.

The ASTIS (Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation International Scleroderma) trial enrolled more than 150 patients between 2001 and 2009, and randomised patients to the HSCT arm or to intravenous pulse cyclophosphamide treatment. As of May 1, 2012, significantly more deaths have occurred in the conventional treatment group. Half of the deaths in the HSCT group occurred early and were deemed treatment-related according to an independent data monitoring committee. In the conventional treatment group in contrast, none of the deaths were deemed to be treatment-related; but more deaths occurred later and most were related to progressive disease.
 
Scientists Identify Agent That Can Block Fibrosis of the Skin and Lungs PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 May 2012 07:22
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have identified an agent that in lab tests protected the skin and lungs from fibrosis, a process that can ultimately end in organ failure and even death because the damaged tissue becomes scarred and can no longer function properly. The findings were published yesterday in Science Translational Medicine.

There are no effective therapies for life-threatening illnesses such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and systemic sclerosis, which cause progressive organ scarring and failure, said senior author Carol A. Feghali-Bostwick, Ph.D., associate professor, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, and co-Director of the Scleroderma Center, Pitt School of Medicine.
 
New Target Indentified In The Battle Against Rheumatoid Arthritis Identified PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 05:44
Researchers have uncovered the mechanism by which a cell signalling pathway contributes to the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study led by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery, also provides proof that drugs under development for diseases such as cancer could potentially be used to treat RA.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory autoimmune disease that can be crippling and impacts over a million adults in the United States.
 
Important Information About Autoimmune Diseases PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 May 2012 12:07
There are more than 100 known autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, scleroderma, and lupus. Normally, your immune system is designed to protect your health. But in some people, the immune system creates autoantibodies that attack the cells and tissue they’re meant to protect.

According to a study, more than 32 million people in the USA have autoantibodies. Not all who test positive for them develop autoimmune diseases;
 
African Americans Have More Severe Complications From Scleroderma PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 May 2012 20:56
African Americans have more severe complications from systemic sclerosis, also known as scleroderma, than Caucasians. Findings published today in, Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), show that compared with Caucasians, African-American patients were more likely to have antibodies that increased frequency and severity of pulmonary fibrosis, which is associated with decreased survival.

According to the ACR there are 49,000 adult American diagnosed with systemic
 
PDE-5 Inhibitors in Scleroderma Raynaud Phenomenon and Digital Ulcers PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:17
Systemic sclerosis- (SSc-) related vasculopathy, as manifested by Raynaud’s Phenomenon (RP) and digital ulcers (DUs), is associated with significant impairment of the quality of life and morbidity. The current vasoactive approach for SSc-RP, although employing vasodilators, is entirely off-label. PDE-5 inhibitors improve peripheral circulation, are well tolerated, and are widely used for various forms of constrictive vasculopathies.

This class of medications has become one of the first lines of treatment of SSc-RP and SSc-DUs among rheumatologists that routinely treat SSc patients.
 
Silicone and Scleroderma Revisited PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:09
Silicone, a synthetic polymer considered to be a biologically inert substance, is used in a multitude of medical products, the most publicly recognized of which are breast implants. Silicone breast implants have been in use since the early 1960s for cosmetic and reconstructive purposes, and reports of autoimmune disease-like syndromes began appearing in the medical literature soon thereafter. Over the previous year, silicone implants have been suggested as playing a role in a new syndrome that encompasses a wide array of immune-related manifestations, termed ASIA (‘Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvant’).

Scleroderma, a relatively rare connective tissue disease with skin manifestations and systemic effects, has also been described in association with silicone implantation and rupture.
 
Mechanism ID’d for Benefit of Stem Cells in Autoimmunity PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:00
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) activate a mechanism involving coupling of FAS/FAS ligand to induce T cell apoptosis and immune tolerance, according to an experimental study published online April 26 in Cell Stem Cell.

To investigate the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic benefit of BMMSCs in autoimmune disease, Kentaro Akiyama, D.D.S., Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues infused BMMSCs into mice.

The researchers found that, in mice models of systemic sclerosis or experimental colitis, infusion of BMMSCs induced T cell apoptosis via the FAS ligand-dependent FAS pathway, and reduced symptoms of the disease.
 
Understanding More About Your Rheumatoid Arthritis PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2012 22:40
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsens with age. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is usually caused by normal wear and tear, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder (a condition where the body actually attacks itself). Other types of arthritis include gout, infectious arthritis and joint problems
 
The American College of Rheumatology Issues Guidelines for Management of Lupus Nephritis PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2012 22:30
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has issued newly created guidelines for the screening, treatment, and management of lupus nephritis—a severe manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) where the disease attacks the kidneys. Previously, only general guidelines for SLE existed for clinicians. The guidelines, available today in Arthritis Care & Research, are specific to lupus nephritis and include methods for identifying renal disease, newer therapies, and treatment of pregnant SLE patients with kidney involvement.

The ACR estimates that up to 322,000 adult Americans are diagnosed with SLE, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, fatigue, joint pain, and organ damage. Lupus nephritis is one of the most serious complications of SLE where inflammation of the kidney could lead to renal failure. Medical evidence suggests that 35% of adults in the U.S. have evidence of nephritis at the time of SLE diagnosis, and up to 60% develop kidney involvement during the first 10 years with the disease.
 
The Management and Treatment of Scleroderma is Improving PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 April 2012 21:19
Management of systemic sclerosis is likely to improve as soon as an ongoing convergence of mechanistic insights, improved understanding of clinical trial design, and interest by industry results in new treatments, according to Dr. Robert F. Spiera.

Of particular note are recent trials, with both positive and negative results, of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and autologous stem cell transplantation, he said at a rheumatology meeting sponsored by New York University. Even while awaiting a big breakthrough in treatment, "we can now do a lot for our patients with Scleroderma," said Dr. Spiera, director of the Scleroderma and Vasculitis Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
 
Too Many Sugary Drinks, Definitely A Bad Thing PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 April 2012 23:27
Bad news cola lovers: Soda isn't the healthiest thirst-quencher in the cooler. In fact, health risks surrounding sugary drinks are increasingly well-documented. Rates of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes are higher among people who sip them regularly.

In one strange case, experts suspect cola overload may have helped to kill a 30-year-old New Zealand woman who died of a heart attack in February 2010. Natasha Harris reportedly drank 8 to 10 liters of cola per day, according to the Associated Press.
 
UTHealth Uses $1.9 million Grant To Study Therapy For Autoimmunity PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 April 2012 22:06
A researcher at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is studying a novel cell therapy that could help avoid autoimmune problems after stem cell transplantation, as well as potentially treat other autoimmune diseases.

The preclinical study, funded with a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is being conducted in collaboration with the NIH and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The therapy centers on regulatory T cells, which are central to the control of autoimmunity in the body. Dat Tran, M.D., assistant professor in the Pediatric Research Center at the UTHealth Medical School, said the therapy could help prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), an autoimmune disorder that occurs in up to 80 percent of cancer patients receiving bone marrow stem cell transplants. It could also potentially treat other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
 
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